I’ve been so fixated recently on understanding difficult genera that I’ve gotten way behind in posting; there are now a dozen different species that will have to wait until next year, as they’re surely done blooming by now. But since Viola has been one area of focus, I’ll do a quick post about one more species.
As acaulescent blue violets go, this one is easy to identify, because of the unusual leaf shape. It’s Viola palmata, aka early blue violet, cleft violet, or wood violet. In the southern part of the Maryland piedmont it seems to bloom much later than the other blue violets; I’ve seen no sign of those at the Billy Goat Trails, on Sugarloaf Mountain, or at Rachel Carson Conservation Park in the last two weeks.
Note how variable the leaf shape is.
These photos were taken on May 2, along the C&O Canal towpath near the Marsden Tract. I saw this species last year in mid May on Sugarloaf Mountain, so it’s likely to be blooming still.